Yes, you heard me right. Pickled cherries. Sweet and sour with the nice cherry flavor that always comes with cherries. If you like cherries, you definitely need to give these a try. If you like pickles, you need to try these. Same if you like sweet and sour. Whatever you like, try these!!! You won’t believe the flavor.
When we were in Portland, Me. 2 years ago visiting Daniel aka Knothead, we went to a nice little restaurant for dinner. Portland has a lot of very quaint, nice restaurants with incredible culinary talent. We bought a Charcuterie plate as an appetizer. When they brought it to the table it was accompanied by cherries. I thought it a little odd because charcuterie is typically accompanied by Gherkins to cut the fat on your palate. Nevertheless, after a few pieces of meat, I bit into one of the cherries and was blown away – it was pickled. It had a wonderful flavor and was a perfect balance to the meat. Everybody at the table loved these pickled cherries. When the waiter came by we asked him to ask the chef if he would give us the recipe. After awhile he returned with a piece of paper with handwritten notes on it. Like most chefs, it was a list of ingredients with no measures and a brief set of instructions. 😮 The waiter explained the chef makes these pickled cherries 3 times per week so there is no reason for him to measure. He just has a feel for what he is doing. We chuckled and I remembered cooking professionally and never measuring anything. It really was sight, feel and taste. We thanked him for sharing and left. We then came back from Portland, got busy doing other things, cherries were no longer in season and the handwritten notes were placed in a “safe place” where they were forgotten.
Recently, I have been in a pickling mood pickling okra, cucumbers and assorted veggies. I really do love pickles. This triggered my recollection of those wonderful pickled cherries in Portland. I commented about them and Baby Lady found the handwritten notes. We again chuckled about the lack of measurements. So, we researched the net to see the various types of pickled cherry recipes were out there to give us a feel to try and replicate these fabulous cherries. Surprisingly, there are a lot of sites with pickled cherries but the recipes are mostly spinoffs (or knockoffs without credit) of Thomas Keller’s pickled cherries. Nevertheless, it gave us an idea as to proportion. So, armed with greater insight to the puzzle, this is what we did.
Pickled Bing Cherries
- 1 lb Bing Cherries
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 8 whole cloves
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 stick cinnamon (2 inches long), crushed
Pickled Rainier Cherries
- 1 lb Rainier Cherries
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup Dark Amber Maple Syrup
- 8 whole cloves
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 10 green cardamon pods, crushed
- 2 sticks of cinnamon (2 inches long), crushed
Pickled Bing Cherries
Add the red wine vinegar to a small saucepan
Next, add the water
and the cloves.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 3 – 5 minutes. Now, strain the spices, return the seasoned vinegar to the saucepan and add the cherries.
Allow the cherries to simmer in the seasoned liquid until tender, roughly 4 minutes. Pour into a quart jar.
Cap and refrigerate for 48 hours to allow flavors to fully meld. Serve however you like.
Pickled Rainier Cherries
Add the vinegar to the saucepan
followed by the maple syrup
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
Strain the liquid over the cherries
Cover and place in boiling water and can for 12 minutes.
let sit for 48 hours turning the quart jar upside down periodically to keep the cherries submerged in the pickling liquid because the liquid will not cover the cherries. Serve however you like.
NOTES: These are really wonderful and have great versatility. You can use them like we did at lunch with a cheese and meat plate with a little champagne. It’s a great, lazy Sunday lunch/brunch. You can eat them with a nice seared foie gras like Thomas Keller serves at the French Laundry. You can uses them as an accompaniment with venison or duck. You can serve them with sandwiches. You can even eat them straight out of the jar.
Now, the bing cherries are the preferred cherries. They are a little sweeter with the extra sugar and milder by using equal parts of water and vinegar. Also, by simmering the cherries in the liquid, the cherries release their liquid in the syrup, too. So, you can use the syrup in addition to the cherries themselves.
The rainier cherries are much more sour given the vinegar is not diluted with water. Nevertheless, they have better texture because they have not been simmered even though they have been canned. The sweetness is similar and we could not really taste the maple. Regardless, they are still extremely tasty and are perfect for a charcuterie plate or as a condiment for salads or sandwiches.
We hope you give these a try and like them. 🙂
37 thoughts on “Pickled Cherries 2 Ways – Bing Cherries and Rainier Cherries”
Sound and look yummy!! VGW
Well, these recipes are on a 6-months’ ‘waiting list’ ere it’s our cherry season Down Under!! Very interesting! Have never ‘done’ anything like this before and I can think of a number of ways I would like to try them 🙂 ! Bing, yes, Rainier, have not heard – shall look at our availabilities closer 🙂 !
Hi, Eha. Thanks for the nice compliment. 🙂 I’m not certain you can find Rainier Cherries Down Under. The Rainier cherries are named after Mount Rainier in Washington state. It is is a hybrid of two very sweet, red varieties, the Bing cherry and Van cherry. Rainier cherry trees create high levels of glucose in the fruit, which is why the cherries are renown for their sweetness. The flesh is a pale golden color with red streaks near the skin and seed. The flavor of Rainier cherries is memorably sweet and low acid with a caramel-like finish on the palate.
The cherry was developed in 1952 by Harold Fogle for Washington State University’s breeding program. It was released to the public in 1960. The mother tree which produced the very first Rainier fruits still grows on the same orchard five miles from the University station in Prosser, Washington. Washington state remains the premier growing region for Rainier cherries. Its complex climate contributes to plumper, sweeter cherries than any other growing regions.
Thank you so much for the reply and ‘lesson’ . . . . love cherries: have been too stupid to learn what kinds we have here in Oz – well, after the next season I shall know . . . yes, I picked ‘Rainier’ correctly [have dear friends In Portland, Ore!] . . . . do you mean to tell me any part of the US does not have a ‘complex’ climate: have four foodie blogfriends in Illinois – shan’t complain about our vagaries thereof after being ‘part of’ their daily lives!!!!!!
“Complex” climate may not be the best description. We have a saying in Texas – “If you don’t like the weather, stick around, it will change.” We get very dramatic weather shifts in the DFW area. In reality, we really only have 2 seasons – really hot and pleasant. We get roughly 3 weeks per year of freezing (or close to freezing weather). Seattle is a little different. Maybe it’s all the coffee they drink. Most of the time it’s grayish and rainy with little sunshine although every time I have ever been there it has been sunny and you can actually see Mt. Rainier (they call me the sun god). It is cold in the winter but given its location it is moderate climate the rest of the year – just rainy. Mt. Rainier, being a mountain, has different, more complex climate although it never really gets hot. It does, however, get sunshine and a good deal of sunshine at that. Whatever it is, Rainier cherries are wonderfully sweet with a beautiful color. 🙂
Oh, Richard . . . so glad I returned!! Methinks that in spite of nasty wind squalls in the early spring months [like now!!] I have to be grateful and admit Melbourne some 900 kms south bears the title of ‘the lady of four seasons a day!’ 🙂 ! Mid-winter with seven days straight 3-4 C to 21-23 C every day can’t be that bad!!! Lovely to have seen you on line again and hoping your lovely Lady is smiling!!!!
Good to see you back, Richard, especially when you’re bearing gifts like these cherries. I’ve never heard of pickled cherries before and you’ve certainly captured my attention. I’ve pickled a few things and love the ingredients in these 2 pickles. I bet they’d compliment each cherry variety quite well. I spend most of cherry season looking for sour cherries. I think I need to widen my search to include sweet ones, as well.
Thanks, John. We don’t see the sour cherries In DFW but this year must have been a bumper year for the sweet cherries. They are everywhere right now. I love cherries but not nearly as much as Quickstep who is living with us once again. I had to hide the cherries to make these pickles. Otherwise, he would have eaten them. 😮 You would really like these pickled cherries.
Back with a bang Richard!! Good to see you again. I can imagine how gorgeous your pickled cherries must be. I pickled some oranges the other day to serve with charcuterie, I’ll make these in summer for sure!
Hi, Sandra. Thanks for missing us. We still cook a lot and try to keep up with the blogs we follow but posting has taken a back seat for a while. “Knothead” aka Daniel has finished his service in the Coast Guard and moved back home to finish college. “Quickstep” aka Robert has also moved home. So, now we have a full house with lots of activities meaning we’re constantly on the run. We hope you give these pickled cherries a try because they really are unbelievably tasty.
Great to see you back, Richard. Don’t think I’ve ever seen pickled cherries before, but I believe they will go well with charcuterie or other meat dishes indeed. I have a post on pigeon with cherries coming up. Your post has inspired me to try a different version, with vinegar to deepen the flavor.
Hi, Stefan. Hope all is well with you and Kees. We were discussing last night how much we enjoyed you and Kees and your visit. You will like the pickled cherries as it is the perfect sweet and sour combination. I would imagine they would be a nice accompaniment to pigeon. I’m going to order an Elk rib rack and use these cherries as the basis of a sauce for it. I think it will be a killer combination. I will look forward to reading your pigeon post.
Hi Richard. We certainly enjoyed our visit and are looking forward to the next time. With our summers getting hotter, it may actually get warm enough for you and the Baby Lady to come over 🙂 We’ve been having 80ish weather for weeks now.
We can’t get elk here, but I remember it was very nice. I also remember when our campsite in Yellowstone was invaded by elk. Quite imposing from up close.
Stefan, I wanted you to know I just made another batch (actually a double batch) of these pickled cherries. We once again did the bing cherries as we preferred the style and the Ranier cherries are now out of season. These pickled cherries really are that GOOD!!!! This time I altered the recipe – I can never seem to leave well enough alone. 😮 This time, I used an orange blossom honey (about 1-1/4 cup) as opposed to sugar, I also added a pinch of ground cardamon and a dried cayenne chile (I really tried to stop myself but I just had to add a little heat to them. 😉 ). Everybody agreed this is the best batch. The cardamon adds a little more depth of flavor, as does the honey, and the cayenne adds just a hint of heat on back end – it’s almost unnoticeable. Really fun. I love cooking and experimenting. 😀 We miss you guys and hope you are having a fabulous summer even with the unexpected heat.
Hi Richard, we miss you guys too. I’m not surprised you added a little heat 😉 After a hot July we are now having a very wet and cold August. If it continues like this, before we know it the heating will be on…
Nice. Thanks. Look forward to trying the recipes.
Thanks. You will like these, I assure you. 🙂
Nice to see you posting Richard and with such a good recipe. I had pickled cherries last year with charcuterie at a restaurant in Florida and they were a perfect accompaniment.
Hi, Karen. Thanks for the nice words. It’s nice to post again and we’re glad we finally remembered the recipe and made these. They go with so many different things.
Fascinating! Nice to see a new post. 🙂 How is Daniel after the sinsus surgery?
Hi, Virginia. Hope all is well in New England. 🙂 Daniel breathes better although it had little to no affect upon his sense of smell. Coming back to Texas and all of the pollens here, however, his sinuses are giving him fits right now – lots of drainage. He is probably going to go back on allergy shots again. 😦 Oh well, at least he can breathe.
Sinuses can be a royal pain!
These sound wonderful! Very unique.
Thanks. 🙂 They are very tasty and we hope you give them a try. You will be surprised at their versatility.
Now, this is why I spend so much time reading my colleague’s food blogs – you genuinely learn something new pretty much every day. This being a perfect case in point. It’s an easy statement to make, but I will be whipping up batch of these pretty soon. Great post Richard.
Thanks Phil. Glad you liked it. If you like cherries or pickles you will love these. I will be interested to see how you use them.
Cherries are my very favorite and this looks out of this world, definitely my kind of thing ! Great post richard !
Thanks, Lea. I was real pleased with the way these turned out. They were fun to make, very simple and tasty, tasty, tasty. I will probably make a few more batches and can them for winter when cherries cannot be found.
Hello Richard, it is good to see you posting again! We have a Bing cherry tree in our backyard. It’s past it’s prime now, but I enjoyed the ones I could reach. Unfortunately the tree is almost 30-feet tall so we had no way to harvest all the cherries. This pickled cherry recipe would have been a good recipe to use on them. Alas we have to move next month so no more free cherries…
I don’t know how I have fallen so far behind on comments. 😦 These pickled cherries are divine. In fact, I’m making another batch today to can for the winter when there are no cherries. Hope your move goes well. It’s always such a stressful event in your life.
Great inventiveness. Great photos. Great writing.
Most of all, great to have you back with us.
Thanks, Conor. It’s good to be back and posting again. Now, if I can just keep up with the blog as I have fallen behind yet once again.
I am definitely going to try these!!! Thank you so much for sharing!
Thanks, Serena. We hope you like them. 🙂